Closed shop: No 10’s diplomatic spat is followed by European auditor row

A row has erupted in the House of Commons over the ‘jobs-for-the-boys’ style appointment of a non-accountant as Britain’s next nominee to the European Court of Auditors, write Michelle Perry and our parliamentary staff.

During exchanges in the Commons, MPs complained the position, held by John Wiggins who is due to step down at the year end, has become a ‘closed shop for ex-civil servants’.

Alan Williams, Public Accounts Commission chairman, complained there should have been more consultation. It then emerged that neither Wiggins nor his replacement, David Bostock, currently working at the National Audit Office, are qualified accountants. Lib Dem MP David Rendel said the appointee ‘should have considerable experience of audit, probably being a fully trained auditor’.

The European spat came just days after the prime minister upset EU heads of state when he at first only invited French president Jacques Chirac (pictured left with his prime minister Lionel Jospin to his right) and Gerhard Schroeder, chancellor of Germany, to a summit at Downing Street at the weekend. The row will add to concerns about EU finances.

EU slammed as fraud controls fail

Related reading